Why WP Mail SMTP is So Last Year: Time to Embrace FluentSMTP

The default WordPress email provider, PHP mail(), has several weaknesses that can affect email delivery and reliability. Here are some of the main weaknesses:

  1. Deliverability issues: PHP mail() relies on the server’s mail transfer agent (MTA) to send emails, which can result in emails being marked as spam or not delivered. Many email providers use advanced spam filters to prevent unsolicited emails, and PHP mail() does not provide the necessary authentication and encryption protocols to pass these filters.
  2. Limited functionality: PHP mail() does not provide SMTP authentication, encryption, or email logging. This can make it difficult to troubleshoot email issues or track email activity.
  3. Security vulnerabilities: PHP mail() can be vulnerable to email injection attacks, where malicious users can exploit the code to send spam or phishing emails from your website.

None of this matters if your website does not send emails. If you have a contact form, however, your website DOES send emails… Most people don’t think about that.

Last year I recommended WP Mail SMTP for your genealogy blog, and it is still a good plugin.  This year I discovered FluentSMTP, a free plugin with features you must pay for in WP Mail SMTP.

Why Switch from WP Mail SMTP to FluentSMTP?

Let me stop and say WP Mail SMTP is a good plugin.  It’s just that the free version of FluentSMTP is, well, better. While both plugins serve the same purpose, some key differences may make you want to switch from WP Mail SMTP to FluentSMTP.

FluentSMTP Offers Greater Flexibility

FluentSMTP offers greater flexibility when it comes to configuring your email settings. With WP Mail SMTP, you can only configure the basic email settings such as the From Email and From Name. FluentSMTP, on the other hand, allows you to configure advanced email settings such as the Return Path, Bounce Email, and Reply-To Email.

FluentSMTP Logs any attempts to Send Email – for Free!

When someone claims, “I never got that email,” I need to figure out what went wrong, and for that, I need email logs. Logging was the reason I upgraded to the Pro version of WP Mail SMTP

How to Make the Transition from WP Mail SMTP to FluentSMTP

Convinced?  Here’s how you can make the transition to FluentSMTP

1. Install and Activate FluentSMTP

The first step is to install and activate the FluentSMTP plugin. You can find the plugin by searching for “FluentSMTP” in the WordPress plugin repository or by downloading it from the FluentSMTP website.

2. Deactivate WP Mail SMTP

Before you can switch to FluentSMTP, you’ll need to deactivate WP Mail SMTP. To do this, go to the Plugins page in your WordPress dashboard and find the WP Mail SMTP plugin. Click the “Deactivate” button to disable the plugin.

3. Configure FluentSMTP Settings

Once you’ve activated the plugin, navigate to the FluentSMTP settings page in your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can configure your email settings and authentication options.

You will need the security credentials from your email provider

4. Test Your Email Settings

After you’ve configured FluentSMTP and deactivated WP Mail SMTP, it’s essential to test your email settings to ensure everything is working correctly. You can use the “Email Test” feature in the FluentSMTP settings page to send a test email and verify that your settings are correct.

5. Update Your Email Forms

Finally, you’ll need to update any email forms on your site to use the new FluentSMTP settings. If you use a contact form plugin such as Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms, you must update the email settings to use FluentSMTP instead of WP Mail SMTP.

I use the free Kadence Forms block for most of my Contact Pages, so I did not need to do anything. If your forms are configured to use the “default” email provider for the website, you can skip this step.


While WP Mail SMTP is a popular plugin for sending emails from your WordPress site, FluentSMTP offers several advantages that may make you want to switch. With more secure authentication, greater flexibility, and better integration with email services, FluentSMTP is a solid choice.

If you’re ready to switch, follow the above steps to transition from WP Mail SMTP to FluentSMTP.

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